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Gender quotas: the key to improving Japan's 116th parity ranking?

South Korean and French successes offer clues in fight for equality

Japan ranked 116th out of 146 economies in the WEF's latest Global Gender Gap report. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa)

TOKYO -- Japan has long languished below 100th place for gender equality even as other major economies make strides in women's empowerment. One key difference seems to be Japan's reluctance to adopt quotas that force action on companies and political parties.

Japan ranked 116th out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum's new Global Gender Gap report -- behind all other Group of Seven members, along with such Asian neighbors as China and South Korea.

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